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Volume 735: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2023

The Secretary of State was delighted recently to announce two successful freeports in Wales—the Celtic freeport and Anglesey freeport—which will each be supported by £26 million of Government funding. We have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the delivery of the two Welsh freeports, which we aim to bring into operation as soon as possible.

I have been a keen supporter of the new Solent freeport joining my Meon Valley constituency. I know the economic benefits that freeports can bring to businesses and workers. Can my hon. Friend assure me that he is doing everything he can to ensure that the two freeport bids in Wales move ahead swiftly to benefit the communities they serve?

I certainly can. The two new freeports will help to level up north-west and south-west Wales and bring new high-skilled jobs to successful areas. They will become drivers of growth and employment in their areas, acting as hubs for regeneration, innovation and global trade. I understand my hon. Friend’s desire to see rapid progress. Both the UK Government and the Welsh Government will work closely with the successful bidders to develop their outline business case so that we can understand the benefits, costs and the most beneficial intervention options.

The Celtic freeport bid is based on floating offshore wind. The floating offshore wind manufacturing investment scheme is a vital programme to get the infrastructure in the port ready for the fabrication of substructures and turbines for floating offshore wind. As the voice of Wales in the Cabinet, what steps is the Secretary of State taking with Cabinet colleagues to secure FLOWMIS to maximise the benefits of the Celtic sea freeport?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right about that. He may also be aware of yesterday’s announcement of the leasing area in the Celtic sea for floating offshore wind. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular meetings with stakeholders, as do I, about FLOWMIS and the necessary infrastructure to bring that into being.